Moral Relativism and Moral Nihilism

James Dreier

Edited by David Copp

in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195147797
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785841 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Moral Relativism and Moral Nihilism

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The chapter discusses moral nihilism and moral relativism, with some sympathy, especially to relativism. It considers some arguments for the views, some arguments against them, and some arguments designed to decide between them. Moral nihilism and moral relativism are meta-ethical theories, theories of the nature of morality. Nihilism is the view that there are no moral facts, that nothing is right or wrong, or morally good or bad. Relativism is the view that moral statements are true or false only relative to some standard or other, that things are right or wrong relative to Catholic morality, say, and different things are right or wrong relative to Confucian morality, but nothing is right or wrong simpliciter.

Keywords: nihilism; relativism; morality; meta-ethics

Chapter.  11644 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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